Another trip through Cades Cove

One of my favorite places to visit is Cades Cove in the Tennessee mountains and with our last days in Tennessee just around the corner, we decided to head to the cove, so I could see my favorite spot in the Tennessee mountains. The colors are beginning to change and the leaves are falling, but it will still be several weeks before the best of the colors are out. For some reason this trip seemed to take the longest to get there and even longer to get back from. And even while driving through the loop, it seemed to take us longer than it ever has. Maybe it was because God wanted us to enjoy the beauty of this place for as long as possible as we don’t know when we will be back in this location again.

Over the last few years I have made several trips to Cades Cove and I remember on my very first trip seeing a gorgeous buck off in woods and had gotten out of my car just like all the other spectators and getting as close as possible to get “THE” shot. I got a good enough shot that day and was excited that I was able to see a buck so close up as they are such magnificent animals. Ever since that first trip, I have yet to see another good quality buck until TODAY. He was the most beautiful 8 point I have seen in quiet some time.

Gorgeous 8 point buck

Gorgeous 8 point buck

The funniest part of this excursion, which we didn’t laugh at, at the time, but are laughing at now that it’s over. When we spotted the buck, there happened to be a parking lot that we could stop in to get a better look, so we stopped. We both got out, left the dogs in the truck and proceeded to get a good look. Oscar, our mischievous male, was trying to jump out the window we had rolled down, so we rolled up the windows, but made the mistake of leaving the truck running with all the keys inside. You guessed it, Oscar jumped on the door lock and locked us out. It was starting to get late in the evening and would be dark soon, but we were stuck until finally he stepped on the lock again and unlocked it. We looked like two crazy people trying to get the dog to step on the door lock. It only took him about 10 minutes, but in the meantime we were able to see two doe walk into the field where the buck was, so in the end it was worth it or else we would have missed seeing the additional deer.

If you’ve ever been to Cades Cove, you know the first thing you usually see when you pull in is the gorgeous horses and today was no different. These animals are majestic and beautiful. We pulled down Spence Lane, so we could get a closer look, as they were all hanging out over by the fence.  Lucky for us there was barely any traffic on this lane, so we were able to stop in the middle of the road and I got brave and went right up to the fence to get a closer look and better view for pics. I say brave because I had on flip-flops and the grass was really high and I am scared to death of snakes, but luckily nothing got me this time around.

Pure Beauty

Pure Beauty

Paints are a beauty like none other

Love the colors of this paint…the brown colored ones in the back don’t look bad either.

We had another first on this trip as well and that was we saw 3 different coyotes. I have never seen a coyote in the park, but we saw three different ones. Of course, the first one we saw, it was so far away, we thought it might have been a fox, but after seeing the other two we think maybe it was a coyote instead.

Coyote

Coyote

As for bears, the only bear we saw was after 7:30 pm when we were trying to get out because it had already gotten so dark, you could barely see in front of you. The park had two separate areas marked off with orange cones telling you there was bear activity in between the cones and sure enough we looked over to the left and there was the bear that had been holding up traffic for several minutes.

As for Tennessee, Cades Cove will always be one of my best and top places to visit. If you have never been, I would highly suggest that you add it to your bucket list, as you won’t be disappointed.

 

A Visit to Cades Cove

Since arriving in Tennessee on the 17th, we’ve been taking it easy with the exception of a couple of days in one of my favorite locations: Cades Cove in the Smokey Mountains. The drive is only about an hour from our current location in Lenoir City, so we have gone twice in the past week. Our first drive over was on Thursday where we spotted 2 bears and 2 cubs, 4 deer and a turkey. On Sunday we only saw 1 bear, but it was the best bear sighting I’ve ever had in the park, 17 deer and a turkey.

As you enter the loop around Cades Cove, on the left, is a field of horses. You can’t help but fall in love with these majestic animals.  On Thursday, they were all grazing in the field and looked like a scene out of a movie. I love everything about this pic from the beautiful horses to the gorgeous mountains in the background.The first bear sighting had a ranger directing traffic to keep going, so there are no pics from that sighting except in my mind. That was also where the cubs were and every time we have been in the Cove and cubs were spotted, a Ranger always seems to be there making people move on. However, on the second sighting, the bear below was walking through the forest, eating, minding his own business. It seemed like everybody on the loop was stopping to get a look as well as pics. People were using everything from cell phone cameras and tablets to point & shoot and DSLR’s with the longest lenses I have ever seen.

The next 5 pics are all the same bear. These were taken on our first visit out on Thursday between 3:00 and 4:00 pm.

On our visit on Sunday, we again went around 3:00 pm hoping that being in the afternoon and after a rainfall, we would see more wildlife. We were right, as for deer, as we seen a total of 17 that afternoon. The first four were on Sparks Lane, which is the first road to the left after you enter the loop. We don’t usually go down that road, but it also runs along the field that the horses are in and they were beautiful both days we were out and I wanted to get a closer look at some of them and in the process was able to see the deer below. They had just jumped the fence from the open field to this one with lots of growth. 

We continued our adventure which eventually led us to another road block where a beautiful black bear was just hanging out in the open field. Although the Rangers were there making sure people stayed far enough away, it was at a location that everyone could get out and actually get a clear view, which for me resulted in some good pics as you can see below. All my pics were taken with a telephoto lens and cropped to get a closer view. Eventually he ran through the field to the edge of the woods.  

 

The only other wildlife we seen on these two trips was a turkey each day. Made me wish it was Thanksgiving time already.  Tennessee has lots of places to visit and we have a few in mind to see over the next few weeks that we are here. I would love to hear what your favorite places to visit in Tennessee are. Please leave a comment below as to where you like to visit.

Hope to see you on the road…

Henry Horton State Park

Today we decided to go to the local state park and see what we might discover. We encountered several deer while driving through the park. It was nice to get out and relax and just enjoy not having anything to do. Getting use to not having a “project” to work on has been challenging, but I look forward to the day when my time is filled with exploring many new places as we travel all over the US. Here are a few of my favorite shots from today’s adventure.